Having a safe and sanitary home to live in is important for one’s physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. Some people may struggle to find or keep housing due to low credit scores, high amounts of debt, rising costs of living, and other factors. That’s why there are many housing assistance programs available to help individuals and families find safe and affordable homes around the country.
Whether you are renting, buying, or own your home, you have options to receive help in finding, securing, and keeping a home. There are programs for individuals from all walks of life and families of all sizes and income levels. Let’s explore some of the available programs for renters, homebuyers, homeowners, and people with special circumstances.
If you have a low income, you may qualify for a government rental assistance program backed by the U.S. government. Many of these programs are federally funded but managed by state and local agencies. That means you may need to find your local housing assistance agency or office to apply for these benefits.
Here are a few options you may have to help you combat overpriced rent and secure a safe place to live.
Section 8 Housing
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, more commonly known as Section 8 housing, helps pay a portion of rental costs for low-income families, elderly folks, and those with disabilities. Section 8 vouchers are paid directly to the landlord on the renters’ behalf, and in some cases, it may cover the entire cost of rent.
However, it’s more common for the voucher to cover just a portion of the rent, and the renters are responsible for paying the rest to the landlord. On average, those who qualify for Section 8 only pay 30% to 40% of their income on rent.
For a property to qualify for the Section 8 program, it must be safe, clean, and provide enough room for the members of the family. Those who qualify can choose any available housing unit that meets the program requirements.
Section 8 housing can include several kinds of dwellings, such as:
- Single-family homes
- Multi-family homes
For an individual or family to qualify for Section 8, they must meet the strict income standards within their local areas. The participants’ household income must generally not be more than 50% of the median income of the area. Income standards are also impacted by family size.
You can see if you may qualify to find section 8 apartments and other units and fill out the Section 8 application by contacting your local public housing authority.
Affordable Public Housing
Public housing, also known as HUD housing assistance, is a service that places low-income and at-risk individuals and families into subsidized housing. Unlike the Section 8 program, you cannot choose what type of housing you live in; you reside in housing units that are owned by the federal or local government.
To qualify for public housing, your annual household income must be equal to or less than 80% the medium income in your area. Those who are elderly or have a disability may also qualify.
Emergency Rental Assistance
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emergency Rental Assistance program provided federal funds to state rental assistance programs around the country. You can check with your local housing authority about the availability of ERA funds in your area.